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Local business leaders attend Business Summit at VGCC

Representatives of area businesses and community leaders gathered in the Civic Center at Vance-Granville Community College on Nov. 7 for the inaugural Business Summit, organized by the VGCC Small Business Center in partnership with the Granville County Chamber of Commerce , the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce , the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County and the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce . The event, presented by sponsors Duke Energy and Progress Energy, was entitled “Plugged-In, Productive & Profitable – The New Face of Business.” Attendees used the evening to network with other business leaders and to learn more about how their organizations can succeed through innovation.


The first of the summit’s three guest speakers was Martin Brossman, a success coach, speaker, trainer and author. He focused his remarks on helping small businesses develop and grow through social media tools, including established sites such as Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as newer services like Google Plus and Pinterest. Brossman noted that one-seventh of the world’s population uses social networking. He added that businesses must now also emphasize building a mobile device-friendly web presence. David Genetti, president of Toyota of Henderson and a Wake Forest resident, also discussed the use of new technology and the Web for small business advertising during his presentation. Relaying his own experiences, he argued that advertising through traditional media is still very important and valuable, but some experts believe that businesses may obtain better returns on investment from using newer alternatives. The summit’s keynote speaker was Jack Smalley, Director of Human Resources Learning & Development for Express Employment Professionals, serving nearly 600 Express offices in the U.S. and Canada. His presentation was arranged and sponsored by Hal Muetzel of the company’s Oxford office. Smalley described what he sees as the top five threats facing businesses today, including an inability to innovate; losing a competitive advantage; the high cost of “reckless” hiring; poor leadership and communication; and federal regulatory changes. “The question is ‘Can you adapt’?” Smalley said. “The economy is no longer based on the big fish eating the small, but on the fast fish eating the slow.”


To conclude the event, the three speakers participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from attendees on topics including technology, customer service and marketing. Finally, several door prizes were awarded.


“Our business summit was a great success, thanks to our enlightening speakers and our sponsors,” said VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary. “I would like to thank leaders from the four local Chambers of Commerce for supporting and partnering with the Small Business Center to offer a unique event that hopefully will help local businesses grow and prosper in the face of a changing economy.”


In addition to presenting sponsors Duke Energy and Progress Energy, the Business Summit was supported by “gold sponsors” Express Employment Professionals, CenturyLink, Wake Electric Membership Corporation and Halifax Electric Membership Corporation; “silver sponsor” Revlon; contributors Argand Energy Solutions, Dataforge, Holiday Inn Express, Newcomb Computers, Saint Augustine’s University, The Support Center, Toyota of Henderson, U.S. Cellular, Vance County Farm Bureau and Waste Industries; and media sponsors The Daily Dispatch, The Butner-Creedmoor News, Oxford Public Ledger, The Franklin Times, The Warren Record, WIZS Radio and Lakes Media/ US 98.3 (WLUS) Radio.


Above: Seated from left, Jack Smalley, Martin Brossman and David Genetti were the three guest speakers at the VGCC Small Business Center’s inaugural Business Summit and participated in a panel discussion. (VGCC photo)